What is lead enrichment? A beginner's guide for B2B marketers

What is lead enrichment? A beginner's guide for B2B marketers

April 13, 2022

How much time does your team spend qualifying leads?

According to Gartner, sales teams find that only 44% of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are actually promising. If your team is similarly sifting through a good chunk of your MQLs and doing manual research to determine which leads are worth pursuing, that’s where lead enrichment can help.

But first, let’s start with a basic definition.

What is lead enrichment?

Lead enrichment is the process of finding and adding information, such as company and contact data, to a lead record to speed up your qualification and routing processes. For instance, let’s say you have the names and email addresses of the people who attended your breakout session at a third-party event. They’ve shown interest in your company and you want to engage them, but who do you reach out to first? And how do you make the conversation interesting and relevant for them?

If you add information about the event attendees like role, industry, or company size to your CRM or MAP, that’s lead enrichment. This can (and does) take many different forms, from manually copying and pasting information from LinkedIn into your CRM or MAP to building real-time lead enrichment software into your martech stack. Filing in the gaps about your leads is an important first step to quickly and accurately identifying your very best fits — and determining the ideal next step for them.

Lead enrichment is also useful if the contact information you have has gone stale. With so many people leaving their jobs over the past two years, particularly in tech and healthcare, there’s a good chance at least some of the information you have on your leads is out of date by the time your sales team gets to it. Having fresh and accurate lead enrichment data ensures your records are up to date.

What types of lead enrichment data are useful?

When you have a complete picture about the leads in your CRM and MAP, you’re better equipped to engage them. If you’re hosting a dinner party for some new friends, for example, you might want to know ahead of time whether anyone has dietary preferences or restrictions so your meal will go smoothly. Lead enrichment gives marketers the additional context needed to deliver tailored experiences that turn leads into paying customers faster. The question is, what kinds of data should you enrich your records with?

At Clearbit, we use the term “fit data” to mean data used by marketers to determine whether a lead matches the profile of an ideal customer. This data breaks down into two buckets:

  • Firmographic data: company information, like size, type, industry, revenue, etc. indicating whether the company is a good fit for your product or service.
  • Demographic data: information about an employee who works at that company, such as their name, role, and purchasing power, indicating whether they’re the right person to be marketing and speaking to

The more fit data you have at your fingertips, the less time your team has to spend Googling to determine whether a lead is qualified. With a lead enrichment tool, you can automatically add the firmographic and demographic data attributes that matter most to your business into your CRM or MAP.

Before Web 2.0 and B2B buying went digital, marketers typically enriched their leads with fit information from third-party data vendors like Acxiom and Dun & Bradstreet. Marketers would receive a giant data download from these firms — spreadsheets or CSVs that were relatively static and needed to be refreshed manually.

In recent years, lead enrichment tools have evolved to meet the needs and fast pace of the current marketing landscape. These newer and modern tools deliver third-party data via APIs that sync with your marketing and sales tools in real time. With an API-first approach to lead enrichment, third-party data can be dynamically and automatically refreshed — and then activated across your martech stack — without requiring tedious manual updates between CSVs and your CRMs and databases.

The benefits of lead enrichment for B2B marketing

Building a lead enrichment tool into your stack gives you a strong data foundation for automating your marketing and sales processes, from lead qualification to lead routing. And when you activate enrichment data in real time across your systems and tools, you’re able to optimize your funnel — top to bottom.

Here are a few ways marketers can accelerate pipeline and revenue with the right lead enrichment tool.

Focus your funnel

To grow your business faster, you need to move leads through your funnel with less friction. That starts with knowing who your ideal customers are so you can align your marketing and sales teams around a tailored customer journey — from lead to close — for each target segment.

Having consistent data from a lead enrichment tool makes it easier to analyze and report on your most valuable customers and understand the attributes they have in common. You can then use this information to reverse-engineer a data-driven ideal customer profile, or ICP based on firmographic data points like:

  • Location
  • Company size
  • Estimated annual revenue
  • Industry, sub-industry, or vertical
  • Technologies used

Once defined, your ICP acts as a bullseye for all of your marketing and sales efforts. Instead of moving in different directions, your marketing and sales teams are aiming for the same target. And when you’re aligned from the start on what a high-fit lead looks like, you can set up your systems and tools to automatically recognize them when they come in.

Capture more leads

If you’re a B2B marketer and use lead capture forms to fill your funnel, you’ve likely run into this common conundrum. On the one hand, you need fit information — like company size, industry, role seniority — to determine whether a lead is qualified to hand off to sales. On the other, having too many form fields lowers form completion rates. What’s a marketer to do?

With real-time lead enrichment, you don’t have to choose between the two. Instead, you can activate fit data on your website to design shorter forms that capture more leads and give you the data you need to qualify them.

Take Livestorm, for example. They capture leads for their browser-based webinar software through a free trial signup form. With a lead enrichment solution, they were able to reduce the number of form fields from seven to one and improve conversion rates by 50%.

Faster speed to lead

Time is money. While this might sound clichéd, it encapsulates why it’s important to optimize your speed to lead. After all, when someone fills out a form, they’re showing intent and ready to engage. But if you don’t have enough information to quickly score and route your inbound leads, your sales reps can’t respond promptly (ideally within 15 minutes), and it becomes harder to maintain momentum. In other words, you want to strike while the leads are hot.

That’s where lead enrichment comes in. When you have accurate and consistent data, you can process leads automatically and increase your speed to lead. Lead enrichment fills in the gaps on demographic and firmographic so you can automate both your lead scoring and lead routing processes.

Before they integrated Clearbit for lead enrichment with their Salesforce instance, the Segment sales team was spending five minutes qualifying each lead that came in. Now when a record is created in Salesforce, the lead is enriched with data attributes like job title, phone number, location, industry, and employee count so that  sales reps can reach out to strong fits right away. Lower quality leads are filtered out through an automated lead scoring system that uses the same data. Here's a hypothetical example of what that might look like:

More data means more context

Having more context about the leads in your orbit not only helps you move faster. It also enables you to create the best possible path to purchase for your best opportunities. When you enrich your leads, you can create richer customer experiences.

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